Desert Gothic

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This powerful debut collection, set in the light-filled deserts of Nevada and Arizona, introduces a darkly inventive new voice. Like an early Richard Ford, Don Waters writes with skill, empathy, and an edgy wit of worlds not often celebrated in contemporary literature. In “”Desert Gothic””, Waters unleashes a wild and gritty cast and points them down paths of reckoning, where the characters earn the grace of their hard-won wisdom. Set in bars, mortuaries, nursing homes, truck stops, and the “”poverty motels that encircled downtown’s casino corridor,”” Waters’ ten stories are full of misfit transients like Julian, a crematorium worker who decorates abandoned urns to create a “”lush underground island,”” and the instant Mormon missionary Eli, a hapless divorce who “”always likes people better when they’re a little broken.”” Limo drivers, ultra-marathoners, vagabonds, and a distraught novelist-to-be populate the pages of these gritty stories. 2007 Iowa short fiction award

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